The Emperor son of heaven

In China, to distinguish emperors’ holiness and supremacy, the emperors were called “son of heaven”. 

         Before Qin Dynasty, there were legends about three “Huang” and five “Di”.  “Huang” and “Di” embrace the meanings of the supreme gods and ultimate ethnic values.  Combing “Huang” and “Di”, Qin Shu Huang entitled himself “Huang Di” which meant the emperor.  This title thus was used for all the emperors in the next two thousand plus years. 

         “Huang Di” were also called “sons of heaven”.  From ancient Chinese theological theories, the emperors were born different from the general public.  Stories of the birth of emperors usually contain some legends or mysteries to back up the whole idea of emperors were designated by gods.  

Han Bronze Figure Paper Weigh

        During the Western Han Dynasty (BC206 – AD24), Don Chung Su, a popular thinker, advocated that emperors were sons of heaven.  They were given orders by heaven to rule the general public.  Therefore, the general public should submit to emperors completely since emperors were the most lofty and were given authority to control human lives.  Not surprisingly, he also warned the emperors that abusing heaven-given authority would lead to punishment from the gods, such as droughts, floods, earthquakes and landslides.  He believed that since emperors were representatives of the heaven, they should hence employ policy of benevolence through educating and caring for the public. 





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